Developing the Subjective Story Plot

It is always best to work on the Subjective Story Domain last since it describes the growth of the relationship between the Main and Obstacle Characters, and therefore needs to call upon what was previously determined for them.

Imagine for a moment that the Main Character is a boxer. As an audience we stand in his shoes, effectively becoming him for the duration of the story. We look in the far corner and see our opponent, the Obstacle Character warming up for the bout. As the fight begins, we pass through changing concerns represented by the Main Character Domain Type Order. As the fight progresses, the Obstacle Character lands some telling blows. These are described by the Obstacle Character Type Order.

Outside the ring sit the judges. They do not stand in the shoes of the Main Character, nor are they concerned, fearful, or impacted by the Obstacle Character’s attack. Rather, the judges watch two fighters circling around the issues – maintaining the same relationship between them as adversaries, but covering different ground in the ring.

So it is with the Subjective Story Domain Type Order. As the first round begins, the Main and Obstacle Characters converge on a particular issue. They argue the issue, each from his own point of view. Once they have thrashed that topic into submission, they move on to another area of friction and continue sparring.


In this fictitious story example, the Subjective Story Domain has been chosen to be Psychology. The Type order selected for the Subjective Story is as follows: Conceptualizing, Conceiving, Being, and lastly Becoming.


  • Type 1. Conceptualizing

    Conceptualizing means working out a plan, model, belief system, or paradigm. In the Subjective Story, the Main and Obstacle Characters quickly come into conflict about how to look at the relationship between organized crime and law enforcement. The Main Character argues that law enforcement is like a breakwater, holding back an ocean of anarchy. The Obstacle Character sees the system more like an ecology, where each kind of activity has its place in an ever-changing environment.


  • Type 1. Conceptualizing ——> Type 2. Conceiving

    As new information about the increasing number of diamond heists builds, both the Main and Obstacle Characters approach the problem, arguing over how to put the clues into a meaningful pattern. When they discover the international Consortium, the Main Character looks for ways to stop it completely, while the Obstacle looks for ways to divert it. Based on his views, the Main Character Conceives of the need to place one of his agents deep within the Consortium as a mole. The Obstacle Character argues that the Main Character is thinking about it all wrong. They should be working out how to make the heists too difficult and costly a venture so the Consortium will go elsewhere to greener pastures.


  • Type 2. Conceiving

    Conceiving means coming up with an idea or determining a need. They finally come up with the idea of using the Main Character as the mole in an undercover operation, agreeing that this will be the best way to proceed given their two points of view. They both believe that this plan will not only achieve their purposes, but will also make the other see the error of his ways. The Main Character believes he will be able to prove that he can stop the Consortium dead in its tracks, and the Obstacle Character believes the Main Character will be forced to compromise and change his point of view.


  • Type 2. Conceiving ——> Type 3. Being

    As the Main and Obstacle Character come up with more ideas to help him rise among the Consortium, they realize they are still not seeing eye to eye on how to run this operation. The Main Character starts acting more and more impatient with the Obstacle Character, being more and more like the role he is playing to be in among the sting. The Obstacle Character starts taking on a different role, that of the Main Character’s nagging conscience.


  • Type 3. Being

    Being means acting a role or playing a part. With the Main Character now on the inside of the Consortium, he adopts the role of an up-and-coming organized crime boss. The Obstacle character is only allowed to see him while playing the role of his long-time friend and priest. Having to meet under the gaze of criminals, their relationship becomes one of play-acting.


  • Type 3. Being ——> Type 4. Becoming

    In their meetings, the Obstacle Character argues that if the Main Character is determined to follow through in his plan, and successfully become a mole in the Consortium, the Main Character needs to play the role better than he has been. This will mean acting ruthlessly and letting a few people get hurt. The Main Character argues that he will not cross his personal line, even if that choice blows his cover: if he acted like them, he says he would be no better than they are. The Obstacle Character points out that if the Main Character doesn’t bend his own code a little more, they will both become suspected narcs and probably be exposed. This comes down to the choice between letting crime money be used to save the children’s hospital or letting the hospital be shut down, and the Main Character chooses to save it.


  • Type 4. Becoming

    Becoming means truly transforming one’s nature. The Obstacle Character points out to the Main Character that The Main Character is no longer the self assured champion of righteousness he once was. He points out that there was no escaping the change that the Main Character made in his personal code to be able to bring the Consortium to some measure of justice. The Main Character responds that the angst he is suffering is a test of his moral fiber. Those who stand against the pressure and survive Become stronger for it. He throws the Obstacle Character out of his office yelling that they will never work together again, but it is clear that the Main Character has seen too much in himself and has become convinced that his moral ethics are no longer as powerful as they used to be.

From the Dramatica Theory Book